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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  March 2, 2014 7:05am-7:16am EST

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the magnificent ishmael beah! [applause] just a quick refresher on the line rules. once you approach the line, you should have your ticket in hand, your ticket which you got when you purchased a copy of of "the radiance of tomorrow." this enables you to get in line which allows you to meet our speaker and have anything you want signed. cool? let's do it, right here. [inaudible conversations] >> is there a nonfiction author
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or book you'd like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail at book tv at c-span.org or tweet us at twitter.com/booktv. >> what we're told both as students and as a nation in terms of popular imagination is that there's all kinds of sit-ins and marches and demonstrations that occur, but they're really done by with famous, iconic people. basically, it's rosa parks who just was so tired that she refused to get up from the bus in montgomery, alabama, and sparked the bus boycott. and basically a young preacher who even the president referred to during the election as this young preacher from georgia which is dr. martin luther king jr. who sort of leads the masses of african-americans from racial oppression. so this notion that rosa sat and, you know, martin could to this stuff and jesse could run and barack could fly, all these
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things, they sound good, but they really, today really simplify a -- they really simplify a much more complicated history, and that really involves so many african-americans, women and men, who proactively dismantled racial segregation including rosa parks. rosa parks was an activist. she didn't just refuse to give up her seat by accident, it was a concerted, strategic effort to try to transform democratic institutions. >> tufts university history professor and author of "dark days, bright nights," peniel joseph specializes in what he calls black power studies. his latest, "stokely: a life," will be in bookstore ors march 4th. today he's take your questions "in depth" live for three hours starting at noon eastern on c-span2's booktv. >> up next from booktv's tripp to salem, oregon, ron miner
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details the experiences of his father, a black cat pilot, during world war ii. >> one of my earliest memories is a moment where he had taken me through the basement over to a file cabinet, and inside of et et -- of it he had a manila folder of these exciting sketches of planes and jungles and soldiers and this kind of thing, and they were all kind of tattered, worn pages. exciting stuff for a kid. so i used to sneak down there with friends, and i'd show them these pictures, and we would just imagine what the stories were. and then one day i went down there and it was locked, so he must have been on to me. anyhow, i never saw them again as a young man. so when he passed away a couple years ago at 92, i found the sketches again. we found them as we were going through some of his things, and we were relieved to see all this world war ii art because it dates back to the the 1940s, and he had done it on his down
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time between missions. well, howard miner was my father. he was one of the navy black cats. it was a group of navy military guys that fought in the south pacific during world war ii, and they flew in these lumbar we aring -- lumbering planes called pbys or catalinas, and the black cats were distinctive in that the planes were not terribly well suited for -- almost obsolete, as a matter of fact, and not well suited for combatment they weren't well armed and were not particularly elusive, very slow. and so they had to come up with ways to protect themselves from attacking aircraft. and so that was what the black cats were. they were kind of an ingenious bunch that figured out ways of
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taking what is normally the most difficult part for a plane, the most hazardous part of flying and that's flying at night and using it to their advantage. initially, their roles were more patrol and search and light harassment sort of activities. as time wore on, they became more adept at flying at night. the planes were painted black, didn't use any lights, had flame arresters on their engines. and so as they began to become more or less invisible at night, they were able to extend what they did and become more effective at not only searching for things, but attacking them, bombing hem, strafing them -- them, strafing them and just general kind of harassment activities. in that first tour, he was a copilot navigator, just an ensign. and so they did fly in the
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typical black cat fashion. they did a lot of these search and harassment missions, they would even try to keep japanese troops up overnight just flying around, making noise, throwing bottles out, anything they could think of. but certainly, a big part of it was doing these light bombing runs and just searching for contact and radioing that information in to the proper places. so he was involved heavily in that in his first tour. his second tour he became a what they call a pbc or patrol plane commander and had his own plane and crew at that point. it was called the san frisco ga, and he -- as forces, the allied forces pushed north toward the philippines, more and more they flew in the daylight and did more and more rescue missions because so many of our planes were being shot down, and these guys were in life rafts and on islands and needed pickup.
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the pby, i didn't mention, was a totally amphibious airplane at this point, so they could land op runways and on water. they were nicknamed flying boat, and they would land as near to an island or a raft as they could get. frequently, islanders would visit with these rescued flyers in their canoes or outriggers or whatever they had. a lot of the sketches would involve airplanes, military people, just settings, sometimes trees or koala bears, whatever he -- what captured his imagination, he would do water colors or sketches of. and so the book is actually featuring his illustrations as a part of his story all the way through it. he was an artistic guy. we always knew growing up that he could build or draw or make just about anything, and he did win some awards at, like, state
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fairs and that kind of thing, teenage competitions. so he always had a knack for it. he was particularly good at drawing thing like trains and planes and different buildings, things like that. so he he was, he was a natural, for sure. but he kind of took it to another level when he got into the military and he designed the squadron logo, for instance, he painted nose art on his plane. kind of a scantily-clad lady, as you might imagine, the front and back view fending on which side of -- depending on which side of the plane you approached. and did the water colors and sketches of just things that they saw. one in particular that really caught my attention was a time where he had on a rescue he had managed to locate and pick up five survivors on an island, and they had been through so much and their stories were so poignant on how they managed to even find the pickup location and managed to stay just ahead
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of japanese that were pursuing them. and they were so happy to see this plane, this pby. and they got back, and one of -- two of them, actually, developed pa lair ya and got quite sick and were not able to fly back home. the other three all boarded a big transport plane, and all the guys from the pby went up into the sea plane tender where they were staying to watch the takeoff and were all excited to wave good-bye to them. the plane was just leaving the runway when somebody on a joyride came in and clipped the tail of the plane, and it pin wheeled in and blew up and killed everybody on it. so after all this, they perished anyway. so it turned out that the two guys that had the malaria were actually the lucky ones because they weren't on that plane. he didn't talk much about the war. pretty typical of world war ii vets, they just didn't do that much generally. they just felt it was a job that needed to be done, and it was over, and they kind of saved their stories for each other at
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reunions and things like that. so we didn't talk much minute it -- talk much about it until the last two years of his life. my dad passed away in 2011. when we went through his things and found this artwork, we were surprised to see how much other writing and photographs and keepsakes, memorabilia that he had kept for nearly 70 years. and inside of this was a variety of notebooks, flight logs, ledgers, even my grandmother's scambook that had -- scrapbook that had all this newspaper clippings and photos. a lot of the firsthand accounts that he had kept on old envelopes and manila pages were still intact and still in there. very difficult to read at this point, but they were fascinating, and after struggling through them to try to figure out exactly what they were saying, i was able to kind of piece toget

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